Brownsdale park gets new playground equipment put together by volunteers

Stephen Dorenkemper, left, and Barry Bungum put together pieces of playground equipment in the Brownsdale Park Friday afternoon.  Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Stephen Dorenkemper, left, and Barry Bungum put together pieces of playground equipment in the Brownsdale Park Friday afternoon. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Playing around

Children are often fascinated with the newest toy, and in Brownsdale, the new toy covers the entire playground.

“It’s the city park that has been there for years, the current park equipment is more than 40 years old because I remember playing on it,” Mayor David Pike said.

The new playground equipment was put in Friday and Saturday, with hopes to open Saturday evening. The cost of the equipment, plus the groundwork and other work that was done cost about $100,000. The money was both raised through fundraisers with the local park committee, as well as used from the city’s general fund.

Volunteers set posts for a swing set in the Brownsdale Park Friday. Photos by Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Volunteers set posts for a swing set in the Brownsdale Park Friday. Photos by Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Although the forecast showed 70 degrees and sunny, Friday boasted a light mist and gray skies. Yet volunteers were unhindered in helping put the new equipment together.

“It’s something that needed doing,” Jerry McCloud said.

He, along with about 20 other volunteers Friday, helped put the new equipment up. Some of the volunteers agreed that although there were gray skies, it was better than having 90-degree weather and being too hot. McCloud was excited for the new equipment, as he has grandchildren that may play on it.

“It’s for the community, for the city, for the kids,” he said.

In his position on the city council, McCloud has worked with the new playground since its conception. Pike said the new equipment has been an item of discussion for the last four years. Within the last year, he said the local park committee submitted ideas, which the city approved.

“It’s an investment into the future, I just hope it lasts 40 years like the old stuff,” Pike said.

The old equipment, which was removed over the weekend, is being either sold at the police auction Nov. 1, or tossed, depending on if it is salvageable. Pike said a couple of the swing sets were thrown away due to the bad shape they were in.

Pike said the playground wasn’t unsafe, per se, but as the years went on the city continually removed items as they became unsafe. It was an ongoing topic with the insurance company, and there were continual manual assessments. He said there were no memorable accidents that caused the remodel, it was just time to upgrade. He hopes to make the city more attractive to young families who may look to move to the area.

“Hopefully it’s going to be a tool that’s going to attract young families,” he said. “If we keep a nice looking park, hopefully that will encourage others to keep their properties up.”

Roger Miner checks a level as he helps construct playground equipment in the Brownsdale Park Friday afternoon. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Roger Miner checks a level as he helps construct playground equipment in the Brownsdale Park Friday afternoon. Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

The new equipment is also ADA compliant, which means it is easier for children with special needs to enjoy as well. The equipment is made of both metal and plastic, and the ground is covered with manufactured wood that is processed to make it more shock absorbent, to help with falls.

The responses Pike has heard from community members have been good.

“I’ve been hearing good things, like, ‘it’s about time,’ and things like that,” Pike said. “People are definitely in favor of updates, especially when you’re keeping kids safe.”

Pike added, “It’s good to be part of a positive change in the community.”

 

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